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Corporates seek more security as haunting memories of 26/11 linger

The demand for security consultants has increased post the 26/11 attacks, reports Shailendra Mohan.
Hindustan Times | By Shailendra Mohan, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAY 03, 2010 02:06 AM IST

The demand for security consultants has increased post the 26/11 attacks.

Corporate biggies want to know about measures that will not just the keep their premises safe but also ensure the safety of their key executives.

“We advise clients to ensure that their top management does not travel together or is present at the same time, at the same places,” said Rohit Mahajan of consultancy firm KPMG.

He said that they have also been advising on ways to ensure that the top management of a company is never present together in the same building. “We have asked companies to have their senior officers sit in different buildings, even if in the same compound,” Mahajan said.

Dinesh Pillai, CEO, Mahindra Special Services Group said the recommendations they had made to their clients before the attacks are now being looked into.

Pillai said the attackers targeted hotels like Taj, Hilton and the Oberoi, which are frequented by top corporate executives. “The attacks made them realise that even they are not safe anymore,” Pillai said.

Several top executives of various organisations had been trapped in these hotels during the attacks. Yes Bank’s non-executive chairman and co-promoter Ashok Kapur was among those dead in the attacks along with others.

He added that the corporate houses had been aloof to previous attacks such as the 2006 train blasts and the 1993 serial blasts.

“Getting them to fly in different flights is easier but for a city like Mumbai, where land comes at a premium, having different office buildings is difficult,” Pillai said.

There has been a significant shift in the way employees are hired as well. “The way background checks are carried out has changed. Now, we also check the societal groups that a prospective employee hangs out with,” Pillai said, adding that they recommend lifestyle check of employees who have access to CEOs like drivers and peons.

Stressing on the need for background checks Mahajan said, “If the housekeeping work is being outsourced then we advise background check for vendors too.”

Pillai also pointed out the demand for assurance of safety to foreign executives. “They are worried when travelling to India as at times there are advisories against it so we take all measures to ensure their safety,” he said.

Mehernosh Pithawala, general manager (International Business and Marketing Communication) Godrej Security Services, said, “It is not just about buying hi-tech equipment. For instance, instead of having a straight road, have an access road that runs in curves so that a vehicle cannot be driven at high speed towards the main gate.”

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